CALTCM President’s Letter: March 2021

I wanted to start this year with a grateful word of thanks to all of our CALTCM members. Our CALTCM friends and family are leaders in medicine, nursing, administration, pharmacy, social services, ombudsman, and more who believe in quality and safety in post-acute and long-term care.  Your efforts help CALTCM serve as the medical voice of long-term care in California.  Your work through the pandemic has been heroic and the sacrifices have been many.  

Many of us have experienced deep tragedy during the pandemic. Yet even through great loss we have continued to step up as leaders in long-term care and have continued to carry with us the cares and concerns of our patients, colleagues, family and friends.  CALTCM thanks you for your important work.  

We are the medical voice of long-term care in California.  We promote quality patient care across the long-term care continuum through medical leadership and clinical education.  

We are a volunteer organization that could not exist without your passionate participation.  Your membership in CALTCM will stimulate you to grow in new and exciting ways professionally, and helps us to drive improvements in long-term care for all Californians.  I want to briefly share with you what CALTCM has done in the past year, and is doing this year to advance quality and safety in long term care.

Every two years our organization’s President-Elect becomes President following our annual meeting.  This changeover happened last October, between two significant nursing facility surges of COVID-19.  I want to thank our Immediate Past President, Mike Wasserman, M.D., CMD, for his hard work amplifying our voices so that we can better protect and care for patients and staff during this challenging time. 

Our CALTCM Quadruple Aim of (1) Abundant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), (2) Adequate Testing, (3) Stellar Infection Prevention, and (4) Incident Command Structure was one of the first guidelines in the nation to identify key best practices for providing safe and quality care during the pandemic.  Released in April 2020, the Quadruple Aim has endured and remains a pillar of COVID-19 prevention strategy.  

CALTCM has also emerged as a trusted medical voice for long-term care through work in both print media including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal, and on cable news with Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow, where Dr. Wasserman has appeared as a guest expert.  Dr. Wasserman now continues to build on this work as the Chair of our newly invigorated Public Policy Committee.

CALTCM has also led the charge to provide the best COVID-19 information available on a weekly and biweekly basis through our Webinars.  We launched our educational webinars on March 9, 2020 and with only 24 hours of advance notice, we had over 600 attendees joining us to hear “What Nursing Homes Need to Know” about COVID-19.  Under the leadership of Ashkan Javaheri, M.D., CMD, and our Clinical Practice Committee, we have continued leading in topics ranging from Crisis Management (March 25, 2020), Self-Care (March 30, 2020), Telehealth (March 31, 2020), Advance Care Planning (4/13/2020), Visitation (May 4, 2020), Resilience (May 18, 2020), to Vaccines and Treatments (November 16, 2020) and many more essential topics.  These webinars are available online for our members to access on demand.  

We have also brought your voice to our state capitol, Sacramento.  Through CALTCM’s advocacy, we have been able to guide efforts to protect staff and residents with the correct PPE, mitigate nursing facility outbreaks, advocate for advance care planning in nursing facilities.  Our efforts have brought us to the table working closely with CDPH and CDSS on safe visitation strategies, testing, and other policies.  

Our amazing CALTCM medical directors stepped up to help bring COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing to assisted living facilities throughout California.  We recognize the immense value you bring improving care in California and we believe that every nursing home would benefit from specifically trained and engaged certified medical directors.  

CALTCM is a steady voice for equitable and timely vaccination on the state and national levels.  Our members have worked to blanket California with up-to-date information about COVID-19, vaccines, and treatments to boost patient and staff knowledge and confidence in these important advances.  As a trusted partner for quality long-term care, we have been pleased to provide advice to CMS and the CDC as we navigate this pandemic.

CALTCM is a volunteer organization making investments to improve Post-Acute and Long-Term Care in 2021 and beyond. We rely on your engagement, partnership and advocacy to realize our vision of quality and safety in long term care for all Californians.

Our organization needs to rebuild for the work ahead. The way people organize, work, and learn have all shifted dramatically, accelerating trends that were already in motion by 4-5 years.  

To launch us forward as a dynamic and relevant voice for quality and safety in long-term care, we have invested in our clinical practice and public policy committees. We are investing in bringing value to our members every day, and we will continue to do outreach to cultivate motivated members who want to improve post-acute and long-term care throughout the State and Nation. 

Our challenge this year is threefold:

  • Create value for our members every day through our education and advocacy efforts.
  • Invest in our digital platform to allow people with shared challenges and diverse solutions in post-acute and long-term care to find each other and to improve rapidly.
  • Identify and partner with organizations, foundations and supporters who share our vision and can support our organizational financial health.

We need your help to make 2021 a success.  Our members have incredible talent, diverse experiences, and amazing potential and we invite you to join our education and advocacy committees.  

In the coming months, please look out for more communication around the critical areas of education and advocacy we are working on.  Thank you for committing yourselves to CALTCM’s mission and vision, and for helping expand our reach by telling your colleagues about us and encouraging them to join, volunteer, and donate.  Your engagement will help us to build a solid and sustainable foundation for CALTCM so that we can improve care for all Californians. 

I look forward to growing together in 2021.

Interested in being more active in CALTCMpartnering financially or making a connection?  Reach out to me at [email protected]

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